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Why do variance swaps exist?

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Abstract

This paper studies the determinants of the variance risk premium and concludes on the hedging possibilities offered by variance swaps. We start by showing that the variance risk premium responds to changes in higher order moments of the distribution of market returns. But the uncertainty that determines the variance risk premium –the fear by investors to deviations from Normality in returns- is also strongly related to a variety of risks: risk of default, employment growth risk, consumption growth risk, stock market risk and market illiquidity risk. Therefore, the variance risk premium could be interpreted as reflecting the market willingness to pay for hedging against financial and macroeconomic sources of risk. We provide additional evidence in support of that view.

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Paper provided by Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Instituto Complutense de Análisis Económico in its series Documentos de Trabajo del ICAE with number 2011-06.

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Length: 33 pages
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ucm:doicae:1106

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Keywords: Variance risk premium; Non-normality; Economic risks; Hedging;

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  1. Jobson, J. D. & Korkie, Bob, 1989. "A Performance Interpretation of Multivariate Tests of Asset Set Intersection, Spanning, and Mean-Variance Efficiency," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 24(02), pages 185-204, June.
  2. Joel Hasbrouck, 2009. "Trading Costs and Returns for U.S. Equities: Estimating Effective Costs from Daily Data," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1445-1477, 06.
  3. Rubinstein, Mark E., 1973. "The Fundamental Theorem of Parameter-Preference Security Valuation," Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(01), pages 61-69, January.
  4. Leon, Angel & Rubio, Gonzalo & Serna, Gregorio, 2005. "Autoregresive conditional volatility, skewness and kurtosis," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 45(4-5), pages 599-618, September.
  5. Huberman, Gur & Kandel, Shmuel, 1987. " Mean-Variance Spanning," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 42(4), pages 873-88, September.
  6. Amihud, Yakov, 2002. "Illiquidity and stock returns: cross-section and time-series effects," Journal of Financial Markets, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 31-56, January.
  7. Fama, Eugene F. & French, Kenneth R., 1993. "Common risk factors in the returns on stocks and bonds," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(1), pages 3-56, February.
  8. Kraus, Alan & Litzenberger, Robert H, 1976. "Skewness Preference and the Valuation of Risk Assets," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 31(4), pages 1085-1100, September.
  9. Campbell R. Harvey & Akhtar Siddique, 2000. "Conditional Skewness in Asset Pricing Tests," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 55(3), pages 1263-1295, 06.
  10. Joost Driessen & Pascal J. Maenhout & Grigory Vilkov, 2009. "The Price of Correlation Risk: Evidence from Equity Options," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 64(3), pages 1377-1406, 06.
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